RPI Players slay their performance of Heathers: The Musical
Last Tuesday, April 4, I attended the RPI Players’ first performance of Heathers: The Musical in the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Theater. With the use of extreme lighting effects and interactive acting, the performers created a memorable experience for all.
From the very beginning of the performance, the protagonist, Veronica Sawyer, played by Arwen Costello ’25, projected energy into the audience, portraying a bullied character who simply wanted to fit in at high school. The shifts in lighting highlighted Costello as she narrated her character’s thoughts. Simultaneously, the real-life depictions of high school bullying played out around her.
As the show progressed, the main bullies, the Heathers, were introduced. The entrance of Heather Chandler, Heather MacNamara, and Heather Duke, portrayed by Sofia Sherman ’26, Tylar Pierce ’26, and Danielle Za-Cara Pettway ’23, respectively, brought dramatic color changes on stage. With Heather Chandler’s classic red, the entire stage focused on her as she sang “Candy Store.” The song finished with drastic backlighting which created great contrast onstage with the characters’ brightly colored outfits.
The intensity of the performance skyrocketed as the show went on and Veronica’s situation became increasingly precarious. From falling in love with Jason “JD” Dean, played by Sterling Nowosielski ’26, to becoming tied up in his constant vengeance against all high school bullies, Costello’s acting made her stand out amongst the chaos behind her. Her narrative abilities made the story and Veronica’s thoughts obvious to the audience, even as JD manipulated her into killing Heather Chandler, then shooting Ram Sweeney (Jack Murry ’23) and Kurt Kelly (Charlie Silveria ’23). Finally, this suspenseful series of events forces Veronica into an internal dilemma of morality versus love. With the dramatic finale of JD’s death and Veronica’s reconciliation with her peers, the story came to a spectacular end. The mixture of humor and plot within the songs as well as the scenes in between created a cohesive set with an enticing story, which kept the audience on their toes the entire time.
This was my first time watching Heathers: The Musical, and the Players’ performance was certainly a memorable one. Their outstanding portrayal of the characters engaged the crowd, and the combination of creative costuming and lighting effects amplified the plot into an all-around amazing experience.
RPI Players will be performing Heathers: The Musical on April 12 at EMPAC and April 14 and 15 at Russell Sage College.
HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatrics www.concordtheatrics.com.